The Wisdom of God and our Search for Wisdom
Reach Prov 1:1-8
“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”
Adversity, trials, and tragedy leave us with a sense of hopelessness and despair. It is not that we do not know what is happening, we simply do not know how to respond. This is not just true of tragedy; it is also often true of life itself. Daily we are confronted with issues that perplex us and leave us lost in the search for understanding regarding our response. This is where the writer of Proverb enters our world and seeks to provide answers. The book of Proverbs is meant to be a book that provides insight into the practical affairs of life. It is a book that deals with the daily nit and gritty of life.
In the book of proverbs, the wise person is not the one who possesses great intellect, wealth or status. The wise person is one who is able to live within the moral order that God established in his creation. If the wisdom of God refers to God’s understanding of the best possible goals and the best possible way to achieve that goal, then human wisdom is living in conformity to God’s orchestrated plan.
For the sage, the starting point for truly being wise is found in the fear of the Lord. But this is not just the starting point from which one starts the journey and then leaves behind, like sprinter who leaves the starting blocks behind as he runs the course. The fear of the Lord is the central and guiding point. Like the North Star was to sailors in the night, so the fear of the Lord is the focal point providing direction at every step of the way. To lose sight of the fear of the Lord at any point in the journey is to abandon the way of wisdom.
To fear the Lord is more than just have a sense of awe and wonder before God or to fear God’s punitive hand when we do wrong. The fear of the Lord is to commit oneself to know God, respond in obedience to God’s word, to love him and serve him, and to be completely devoted to him. To fear the Lord is to set him as the highest priority of life.
This is what brings clarity in our days of confusion. When the storms assailed and the waves drove the ship off course, the wise sailors looked to the North Star as their anchor of direction. So, as we become lost in the emptiness of our present struggles, we are to look to God and his word as the anchor point of life. Then we will have the wisdom to know how to respond to whatever life may throw at us. In our age when we are being driven aimlessly by the confusing reports and directives, we can find our true north in the person and word of God. The fool is not the one who lacks intelligence, it is the one who lives without the fear of the Lord as his focal point. Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his Inauguration Address stated, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” In reality, our greatest fear is that we would live without fear—the fear of God. When we become anxious regarding the circumstances we face, do not start by looking at the news or the experts or the latest quip on Facebook. Start by looking to God for wisdom. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).